Accidental child poisoning

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7142.1460 (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1460

Child resistant packaging should be used on all over the counter drugs

  1. John O'Donnell, Specialist registrar in accident and emergency medicine,
  2. Fiona D Brown, Research fellow,
  3. Thomas F Beattie, Consultant in paediatric accident and emergency medicine
  1. Accident and Emergency Department, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh EH9 1LF
  2. Pharmacy Department, Queen's Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  3. Department of Paediatric Accident and Emergency, Queen's Medical Centre
  4. Novartis Consumer Health, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4AB

    EDITOR—Although the mortality from accidental poisoning among children is low, it is none the less an important cause of presentation to accident and emergency departments in the United Kingdom.1 Accidental child poisoning is a potentially preventable situation that causes concern to both parents and medical staff, and appreciable numbers of children require admission to hospital. During December 1997 we treated 35 cases of accidental poisoning in children in our paediatric accident and emergency department. The substances that the children ingested are shown in the table.

    View this table:

    Substances ingested by 35 children treated for accidental poisoning during December 1997

    Tixylix Night-time was the most commonly ingested substance, and cough or cold mixtures in total constituted 26% (9/35) of the poisonings for the month. Of these nine cases, six were boys; eight of the cases were aged between 18 months and 5 years. Two children were admitted to hospital: one because of drowsiness and confusion, and one because of persistent dizziness. None of the preparations ingested had been in a child resistant container.

    In the previous two months no cases of accidental poisoning with Tixylix were seen in the department and we believe that the relatively high numbers seen in December …

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